Pakistan gets $6B in Saudi aid after PM attends forum

Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan, ,centre right sits next to United Arab Emirates Prime Minister Sheikh Mohammad bin Rashed, as they attend the opening of the Future Investment Initiative conference, in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, Tuesday, Oct. 23, 2018. Saudi Arabia is moving ahead with plans to hold the glitzy investment forum, despite some of its most important speakers pulling out in the global outcry over the killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi. (AP Photo/Amr Nabil)

Pakistan PM's decision to attend Saudi conference despite outcry over slain journalist coincides with $6 billion assistance package from the oil-rich kingdom

ISLAMABAD — Prime Minister Imran Khan's decision to attend a Riyadh investment conference despite the outcry over the killing of a Saudi journalist has coincided with an agreement for a $6 billion assistance package from the oil-rich kingdom, a crucial infusion of cash as Pakistan grapples with a soaring deficit.

Analysts say the Saudi infusion will allow Islamabad to breathe a little easier as it seeks a critical loan from the International Monetary Fund to address its $18 billion deficit.

The deal was signed Tuesday by Pakistan's Finance Minister Asad Umar and his Saudi counterpart, Muhammad Abdullah Al-Jadaan, on the sidelines of the Saudi conference. The two countries have longstanding ties.

Khan attended the high-profile conference despite calls from Pakistani rights activists to boycott it in protest at the killing of Jamal Khashoggi in the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul earlier this month.

Several prominent Western executives and officials pulled out of the gathering, known as the Future Investment Initiative, which was the brainchild of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

Khan, who was elected earlier this year, inherited an economy in shambles, with foreign exchange reserves barely sufficient to cover a month's worth of the country's import bills.

Local news organizations quoted Khan as saying that Pakistan could not afford to boycott the conference, although he did denounce the killing of Khashoggi.

In a televised address Wednesday, Khan said he secured a "great package" from Saudi Arabia. He said Pakistan was at risk of going into default if it did not secure aid from friendly countries as well as the IMF, and that without the Saudi aid, the country would have had to seek a much larger bailout from the global lender.

The Saudi financial infusion provides Pakistan with an immediate $3 billion to bolster its foreign exchange reserves, the Foreign Ministry said. Pakistan is to return the $3 billion after one year, but the terms are apparently negotiable.

Pakistan is also to receive $3 billion in oil imports on a buy-now-pay-later basis under the Saudi deal. Currently, Pakistan imports more than 1 million barrels of Saudi oil a day at an annual cost of $3 billion.

The assistance package will put Pakistan in a better bargaining position going into negotiations with the IMF, said Tariq Yousuf Khan, an economics professor in the southern port city of Karachi.

Pakistan is seeking an $8 billion to $11 billion IMF bailout package. An IMF delegation is expected in Pakistan next month.

___

Associated Press Writer Kathy Gannon in Kabul, Afghanistan, contributed to this report.

Related News

Britain's May hopes to assure Chinese over...

Sep 1, 2016

On her first visit to China as Britain's new prime minister, Theresa May will seek to reassure...

Asian stock markets muted ahead of key US job...

Sep 2, 2016

Asian markets were listless Friday as investors awaited key U.S. job data that could influence the...

Britain's May seeks out new trading relations...

Sep 4, 2016

British Prime Minister Theresa May says she intends to seize new trading opportunities for a...

China promises cooperation on steel at global...

Sep 5, 2016

China promises cooperation on steel at global summit amid pressure for trade curbs

Merkel appeals to Russia to enable Syria...

Sep 5, 2016

German Chancellor Angela Merkel is renewing an appeal to Russia to enable a cease-fire in Syria and...

May says Britain still inspires confidence...

Sep 5, 2016

After meeting with other world leaders during the G-20 summit, British Prime Minister Theresa May...

About Us

Daily World Web took the initiative to utilize the development in cloud and AI technology to create a free, instantaneous and borderless flow of news, the way it should be.

Contact us: sales[at]dailyworldweb.com

Subscribe Now!